I went down to the harbor at Antalya to watch the sunset. Before getting there, I did walk around for a bit in Old Town. There is a beauty and a quaintness to the place but too many of those old buildings have now been hijacked for use as hotels and bars. They mar the rich history of the place by trying to market it.
Most of that history would not even have existed when Paul and his team landed at this port. There might have been a couple thousand people here tops. The port was little more than a service station for the real city, Pergia, a couple miles to the northeast.
When I passed through Old Town and into the harbor, the first thing I noticed was how small it was. There were perhaps fifty small boats docked but they were all packed in like cars in a lot. There were cliffs to the west and north, and then a small beach on the east with steps leading up to the cliffs behind it that continue onward to the east.
Even in Roman days you could see why this would not have been the best shipping center. The cliffs make it visually beautiful but they make it obvious why this harbor was skipped right over in Paul’s journey to Rome in Acts 27. This would not be a good place to winter a bireme. Until the infrastructure was in place to bring people here by bus, train, and plane there wasn’t much reason to come to Antalya. Now it is a new, large city. Tourism has made it a vacation favorite and in the past fifty years it has ballooned from the tens of thousands into a city of well over a million and there is no sign that the population growth has even begun to slow down.